Six Dress Watches To Carry You Into The Winter Months
End the year in style.
Originally published on HODINKEE, October 28th 2021
It’s been far too long, but it’s looking like – maybe – we’ll get to have a somewhat ordinary holiday season this year. People will be traveling to see family and friends that they haven’t seen in almost two years, and if that sounds like you, have you decided what watch you’re going to wear to see them?
Might we suggest a new dress watch? It’s a surefire way to catch your in-law’s attention, while also pulling double duty when you find yourself back in the office on a more frequent basis at the start of 2022. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite dress watches currently available in HODINKEE Pre-Owned below, so read on to check them out or head over to the HODINKEE Shop for our entire assortment of hundreds of authentic pre-owned watches.
The IWC Portuguese traces its roots to 1939 when two watch dealers from Lisbon, Portugal, requested the Swiss brand create a wristwatch accurate to marine chronometer specifications in a larger, oversized 40mm case. As a result, the original ref. 325 IWC Portuguese was born. From that original order the Portuguese has gone on to become one of IWC’s most immediately recognizable and cornerstone collections. From simple time-only watches like the original to perpetual calendars and chronographs, a consistent theme of clean design and larger-than-average case sizes remains throughout any iteration of the collection.
Introduced to IWC’s catalog in 1998, the IWC Portugieser Chronograph ref. 3714 features a 41mm case, a leather strap, and a slim, almost non-existent bezel design necessitating a strikingly large dial. Famously unchanged since its debut, the watch has remained consistent with its original and iconic design. The only notable departure from the 1998 original is the movement.
When it comes to vintage-inspired modern designs, few brands are so praised for their efforts as Jaeger-LeCoultre. Much of this has to do with their inclination to not only revive their most famous designs, but even some of their most niche historical offerings. Here we have a watch which falls into the latter of these categories, with the Master Memovox Reveil ref. 141.840.972.
First introduced in the early 2010s, just prior to the onset of the vintage-inspired craze in the world of watches that followed in the next decade, the model recalled the 1950s introduced Memovox alarm watch, reinterpreting the historical tool watch in a modern luxury template. This particular reference preceded what are now the standard issue Memovox alarms in the brand’s catalogue, nonetheless for a short time distinguishing itself via an ultra-clean execution, use of the “Reveil” (French for “Awakening”) as compared to “Memovox” on the dial, and solid, emblem-adorned caseback protecting its chiming caliber 918 automatic movement.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava is one of the most iconic watch collections of all time, with each of its time-only members carrying a distinct, symbolic weightiness in their lightweight, formal wear. The Patek ref. 5196P-001 hit the catalog in 2004, and from its introduction has represented the modern pinnacle of the Calatrava line. Produced in solid platinum, the supremely elegant watch is characterized foremost by its pure lines, its aesthetic easily defined in what Patek accurately describes as “timeless, understated perfection.”
Featuring a classically executed 37mm construction, the case is charmingly thin in construction at eight millimeters, and supremely easy to wear across wrist sizes. While able to easily slip beneath a cuff, it’s difficult to not appreciate the polished details on the unique case, its flat bezel stepping up perfectly from the dial, with its elongated lugs and simple crown recalling the Calatrava’s heritage dating back to the 1930s.
The two-tone silver dial follows in the ethos of the case, featuring a simple small seconds, time-only configuration, but one that’s finely elevated in each of its details. A multi-sector design is the most prominent theme in the style, the applied gold accents like its Breguet numerals adding captivating dimensional contrast. An ever-so-slightly indented sub-dial for the running seconds is balanced against a simple printed logo towards 12 o’clock, a pair of elongated leaf-style hands steadily passing overhead for the hours and minutes. The manually wound Patek Philippe caliber 215PS powers the formal watch with a 44-hour power reserve, and the mechanism’s expert finishing is humbly hidden behind an unadorned, solid platinum caseback, which is all in line with the renowned, understated luxury the Calatrava represents.
Sometimes great watches slip through the gap; the ref. 17.0040.680 Elite from Zenith might be the perfect example of exactly that. Measuring 36mm wide with a curvaceous, slender profile this solid 18k rose gold case is pure tasteful elegance. The visually balanced case is a delight on the full spectrum of wrist sizes, with just a gently stepped bezel adding some light depth.
Concentric circles can be seen on the dial from its surrounding railroad seconds track to the central dauphine hands, only taking a break to allow for a fluted-like ring and sub-seconds dial at 9 o’clock. The gold baton hour markers on this Vintage Elite are delicately raised and multi-faceted with the 12 o’clock marker favoring a pointed design. Proportionally adjusted to take advantage of the fluted dial design is an ever-useful date window at 3 o’clock. There is an overall feeling of pedigree and heritage with this dial design and layout as it effectively evokes popular dial configurations seen on many cult vintage classics.
The Metro breaks down the minimalist NOMOS aesthetic down to its bare essentials. The watch, brought to life by industrial designer Mark Braun, dispenses with a power reserve display or date window in favor of beautiful simplicity. Its 38mm stainless steel sits nicely on the wrist and the dial’s “urban grey” color is achieved with a ruthenium coating.
Besides two lines of text reading “NOMOS Glashütte” and “Made in Germany,” the text on the watch is spare. Arabic minute markers in five-minute increments surround the outermost part of the dial and mint green indices mark the three, six, nine, and 12 o’clock hour markers. The manual-wind watch is powered by the in-house Alpha caliber.
The IWC Portofino ref. IW4594-01 is arguably one of the most authentic Portofino models of the modern era thanks to its focus on core time-telling functionality. The ref. IW4594-01 is directly related to the very first Portofino created by IWC (the ref. 5251) due to its focus on the hours, minutes, running seconds, and moonphase.
This stainless steel 40mm diameter piece aims to keep things as pure and dignified as possible, while focusing on offering fantastic bang for the buck. The silver dial is fitted with applied golden-colored features including the instantly recognizable feuille-shaped hands. The hour markers are predominantly baton-shaped, with the 12 and six o’clock positions favoring Roman numerals, providing a subtle nod to early Portofino references.